Chad Ford of ESPN.com’s “secret” big board put together by GMs and scouts has Oladipo No. 1: “While Oladipo’s ranking may surprise some, I’m not shocked. The key to his ranking is that his low score is only 7. With a narrow range between his low score of 7 and his high score of 9. Oladipo is widely regarded as the safest pick in the draft. While he doesn’t garner a 10 from anyone, teams believe he’s unlikely to fail. A number of GMs have privately confided in me that he’s their favorite player in the draft — not necessarily ranked No. 1 on their boards, but their favorite player. His range looks like it’s from No. 2 to No. 5 on draft night.”
Kevin Durant talking about baptism: “When I came out the water, I felt different. Basketball is so important to me and I carry it all the time… Before that I would get so mad at the smallest things. I’d get mad at my teammates and coaches and fans. I’ve said some nasty things to some fans before. But after that. I felt different. I was always positive with my teammates. Showing them grace because God showed me grace.” (via @jgallagher41)
Using WARP, Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com ranks Nerlens Noel as the top prospect: “Noel’s WARP projection is a little on the low side for a No. 1 pick and would have put him second behind Kentucky predecessor Anthony Davis in last year’s draft. Noel’s defensive potential is immense. In addition to the second-best translated block rate of anyone in the draft (only Jeff Withey rates better), Noel also generates a high number of steals for a post player. He joins three post players in my database with translated steal percentages of 2.0 or better: DeJuan Blair, Kenneth Faried and Greg Monroe. That’s important because steal rate tends to be an indicator of quickness that translates at the NBA level.”
Trade buzz from Ford. Jimmer Fredette seems to be available.
David Aldridge of NBA.com has OKC taking Rudy Gobert: “While teams all around them play small ball, the Thunder have continued to draft and sign big men who can help protect the rim. Hasheem Thabeet got his look last season; Gobert’s ludicrous 7-foot-8 wingspan would follow in that tradition. He is a long-term offensive project, but he could impact an NBA game now at the other end of the floor. GM Sam Presti has the luxury of being patient with young players like Gobert, who’ll turn 21 the day before the Draft. OKC certainly doesn’t need more scoring, anyway.”
Thunder team needs from CBSSports.com: “The Thunder don’t need much but they could use depth inside (they don’t really want to play Hasheem Thabeet, right?) and someone on the wing, just in case Kevin Martin doesn’t stay with the team long-term. With both the No. 12 and 29 picks in the draft, they have lots of ways they could go with adding depth to their roster in this draft. Expect Sam Presti to wow us with his decision-making here.”
Andrew Gilman of Fox Southwest: “However, the steal of the draft could come by taking a chance on Michael Carter-Williams, a 6-foot-6, pass-first point guard from Syracuse. Taking Williams first would seem to make more sense. The Thunder don’t need a center to be successful. They need someone to facilitate Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka. Likely, Gorgui Dieng of Syracuse would still be there for the No. 29 pick, giving Oklahoma City a 6-11 athletic big man everyone says they have to have. Spend the No. 32 pick on Tim Hardaway Junior or Glen Rice Junior. Both are scoring options and both can get to the rim. But no matter what the Thunder do, the best thing about the draft is it really doesn’t matter. Oklahoma City doesn’t need draft day surprise to get better. All the Thunder needs is Russell Westbrook.”